Own it! (Part 1)

If it follows you wherever you go, just embrace it!

(…or call the police!)

The first time I acted in a full length play, it was Shakespeare and I was ten years old. From that point on, I knew I would be an actor.

I pursued theatre all through high school and college, graduating with a Bachelors of Arts in the subject. Post graduation, I started to audition. You would think my childhood determination should have carried me through, but the fear of competition and rejection held me back. I banked everything on one audition. Not getting cast, I soon declared I didn’t love acting enough to go through “all that.” It was easier to either leave acting altogether or hide in the director’s chair.

“Laughing Wild” with The Prague Playhouse

So I left! I moved to Prague, Czech Republic to teach English. But my hiatus only lasted a month and a half. Half-way through my certification course my instructor sat me down and said, “I know you have a background in theatre. My friend tours an educational theatre company around the Czech Republic. Would you be interested?” Stunned, yet excited, I said, “Yes!” A few months later I was co-directing(i.e. hiding) and found myself standing-in for the lead actress during rehearsal. The other director confronted me, “I don’t know why you say you’re not an actor. You have great instincts! There’s always a need for more training, but never let that stop you!”

“Camp Super Friend” at FringeJR in NYC

Fast forward a couple of years. I was back in Seattle, certain that my destiny lay in non-profit work, when a previous acting teacher asked me to perform in a Christmas show, no audition needed. Almost simultaneously a professional theatre company, with which I had interned, asked me to join their touring company, again, no audition needed. People were ASKING and PAYING ME to do this?!? That was when I finally started to take the hint!

I started auditioning for real, got an agent and continued acting professionally. However, even after a couple years of pursuing this career, I still struggled. Recently, when the time came for me to quit my part-time job, I was searching for something to take it’s place. An opportunity came my way which looked ideal on paper. I knew I was perfectly qualified, could be pretty happy taking this position and loved the idea of financial stability. But it wasn’t acting. Not only was it not acting, it would hinder me from pursuing acting fully. My heart didn’t flutter at the thought. It wasn’t my dream come true.

This whole time I’ve been afraid of commitment, making excuses and running from the possibility of failure, but this acting thing has persistently followed me everywhere I go. Someone once reminded me that “ambivalent” doesn’t mean you don’t care; it means you feel two ways about something and it paralyzes you. On the one hand, I loved acting so much; but I was so afraid of it not panning out, that it froze in my tracks.  No more! Who knows what this career holds for me, but it is sure to hold nothing if I don’t claim it for my own!

Here I am in LA, owning it! I AM AN ACTOR!

Stay tuned for Own it! (Part 2): “So, I’m an actor. Now what?”

To boldly go… where most actors have gone before!

I told you I’m moving to LA, right? I had this great situation worked out: a house with five people, three of them actors, two of whom were close friends from college; only $300/month rent (including food); cars to share/borrow; and an ideal location. Then all that fell through!
My friend called me last week to tell me they would no longer be living in the house…. as of Sunday. She was incredibly optimistic and exuded a peace which carried me over for a couple days — that is, until anxiety started setting in. It got worse every time a friend or acquaintance started inquiring as to the details of my move. Those questions only cemented the craziness of this plan (or lack thereof). “So, you’re flying to LA next week and you don’t have a car or a place to live.”  Starting to sweat, I squeak out, “Uh, yes.” I start asking myself, “Where AM I going to live? How much is that going to cost? Will I have enough money to make it? Should I postpone? Should I even go?”
All of a sudden, I recognize the familiar sound of change and doubts that come with it. Several years ago, I moved to Prague, Czech Republic with only two suitcases and a plan of teaching English: no contacts, no Czech, and no return ticket. Within three months, I had completed a certification course, landed an English teaching job and started acting for an educational theatre company. I spent a year and a half in Prague, during which I had some of the most amazing life experiences and met some life-long friends, including my future husband. If all that can come out of such uncertainty, surely I can brave a new city with a loving and supportive husband, where they speak the same language and I have friends around every corner. The thing is, in my experience, the most amazing things happen when you let go and step out into the unknown. Is LA daunting? Yes. Will a living situation work out? Yes. Will I find a way to get around? Yes. Will things turn out the way I expect? No. Is this adventure worth the risk? HELL, YES!